Organic food is food that is grown according to the standards of organic production, i.e. without the use of pesticides and fertilizers when it comes to cereals, fruits and vegetables, or without antibiotics and hormones when growing animals whose meat, but also other foods of animal order are used in the nutrition (eggs, dairy products). Pesticides and fertilizers can be used in the cultivation of such food, but only of natural origin, because the production of cereals would not be sustainable if the protection against pests and other factors were completely eliminated and there would be a mass loss of yield. It is also called ecological food, as food that is produced using methods that do not include modern artificial additives, and is not treated with radiation, industrial solvents or chemical food additives. By organic food, we usually mean fruits and vegetables.
Organic food is regulated by law. It is necessary for food producers to obtain a special certification for organic production, in order to be able to market their products as organic. Organic food is produced under conditions that comply with standards and regulations at the national or international level. The essence is that the production of quality and completely safe for human health foods is in accordance with biological processes within the natural conditions for development. Each segment is strictly regulated by law in order to maintain the harmony of production processes and natural conditions.
Chemicals have not been used on farms where they are being fattened for at least the past three years. It must be clearly separated on it, so that the plants should not come into contact with chemicals from neighboring fields. Problems with pests are solved naturally – by setting traps and baits, using animal species that are natural enemies of specific pests. When it comes to organic food of animal origin, the rule is that hormones that artificially promote growth, as well as any drugs and other artificial means, must not be used in animal nutrition.
In the European Union, the United States, Canada, Japan and other countries, producers need to have a special environmental certification for organic production in order to market their products as “organic”. In this sense, organic food is food that is produced in a way that complies with the standards prescribed at the national or international level. In most countries, it has been suggested that the application of nanotechnology in food production should be excluded from certified organic food.
Organic food produced usually contains only organic ingredients. If ingredients of non-organic origin are present, a certain minimum percentage of the total plant or animal ingredients must be above 90%. There is no limit to the size of the farm where organic food is grown, so many large farms have compartments where they grow organic food. It is difficult to distinguish such food on the market, so the labeling of products as “certified organic” products has been introduced.
By consuming organic food, the level of toxins decreases. In classic agricultural production, there are too many toxins in the form of pesticides and various metals, which have a favorable effect on the durability of food, but certainly adversely on overall health. Some of them increase the risk of various diseases – nervous diseases, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, etc. Organic food protects cells from damage. Organic food diet increases benefits, reproduction and strengthens the immune system. Reduces the risk of developing allergies and eczema in children.
Organically produced foods contain much higher levels of nutrients, such as protein, vitamin C and many minerals. According to many studies, organic food contains 27% more vitamin C, 21% more iron, 29% more magnesium and 13% more phosphorus. It provides products with greater nutritional value than those produced by conventional production. Studies have shown that organic products have a higher content of oligomers, especially potassium (63%) and iron (73%), as well as higher levels of magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin C. These foods have higher nutritional value, but also less pesticide residues and fewer antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and especially more antioxidants, as much as 69% more.
Also, the production of organic food has advantages related to the natural environment. Organic food farms do not release pesticides into the environment, which are dangerous for flora and fauna; they do not disturb the existing different ecosystems and the flora and fauna in them. When calculating the yield in relation to a unit of arable land or per unit of product, it is concluded that less energy is needed in their production. There is also a smaller amount of waste generated during cultivation. According to the conducted studies, the reduction of the yield by 20% due to the cultivation of organic food, enables 50% less use of artificial fertilizers and about 90% less use of pesticides. According to the same researches, this harvest was much better quality and kept fresh longer.
Overall, organic food has grown in popularity as consumers increasingly seek out and buy food that they feel is healthier and is grown in ways that do not harm the environment. In fact, consumers typically buy organic food to reduce exposure to pesticide and GMO residues. Furthermore, some research shows that organically produced crops have a higher nutritional content than comparable inorganic crops, and some believe that organic food is tastier. The question remains, however, whether organic food delivered from all over the world is really a sustainable method of food production. Certainly, organically produced food from a local farmer using an integrated farm-wide approach is quite environmentally sustainable, although the economic viability of such an endeavor can be a challenge. Although people need to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels to combat climate change, many organic policies do little to address the issue of sustainability, rather than focusing on a strict list of banned substances rather than a comprehensive long-term view of agriculture and food.